Los Angeles County’s top hospital official on Tuesday said the county was struggling to accurately convey just how grave the region’s situation is vis a vis Covid-19.
“There will likely be shortages in hospital beds and especially ICU beds in the next two weeks,” said Dr. Christina Ghaly, director of the L.A. County Department of Health Services. Ghaly oversees county hospitals.
Health experts across the board have indicted that when ICUs are overwhelmed deaths will increase exponentially as those who need specialized care to survive cannot get it.
Los Angeles County reported another 49 coronavirus-related deaths Wednesday and another 4,311 cases, while 1,682 people are currently hospitalized. The county now has a cumulative total of 7,543 deaths due to the virus, and 378,323 cases since the pandemic began.
Ghaly said on Tuesday that there were 1,230 available hospital beds at that point and 163 ICU beds. That was before Wednesday’s increase and, she also noted, “We have not seen the results of the recent spike [in cases].” Those will be seen in two weeks and they will likely be overwhelming.
For instance, 12% of new Covid-19 cases predictably need hospitalization. That means Tuesday’s new infections will result in 517 new patients in the hospital. With just 1,230 beds left, two days of such numbers (which we have certainly seen) would overwhelm the system. And that is not counting hospitalizations due to all other maladies in the coming two weeks.
“The increases in cases and hospitalizations must slow,” said a statement from public health officials Tuesday, “to avoid overwhelming our hospitals and healthcare staff, and save lives.”
To drive home the point, L.A. health officials released a new PSA on Wednesday. “Given the gravity of what we’re seeing and the rise in cases, we’ve taken a much graver tone,” said Ghaly. Watch it below.
The holidays are going to be different this year. Don't spend them in the ICU. Wear a mask, keep physical distance, wash your hands and avoid gatherings to protect yourself and loved ones. pic.twitter.com/bI5CUGnMbw
— Los Angeles County (@CountyofLA) November 25, 2020
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